El Reno Without Water For 2 Days Following No Warning Of OG&E Rolling Blackout

Wednesday, February 17th 2021, 10:46 pm
By: Clayton Cummins

EL RENO, Okla. -

City crews in El Reno are working around the clock to restore water.

A rolling black out early Tuesday morning, without notice from OG&E, halted the city’s water service.

El Reno Mayor Matt White told News 9 generators kicked on but could not get going fast enough to be able to keep up. The outage happened during a peak usage time in the city.

No equipment was damaged during the blackout, White said.

It’s been two days since water last flowed out of Bonnie Warren’s faucet. She’s frustrated with OG&E.

“Everybody’s upset, very upset,” said Warren. “If they would of given some kind of notice so people could of really got water and stuff what they really needed, well people around here probably wouldn’t be in a mess like they are right now.”

Warren and her husband need water for medication. Fortunately, they’re stocked up now but that wasn’t the case Tuesday.

As residents continue digging out from two winter storms to hit Oklahoma, fast food restaurants and even Walmart in El Reno were closed for a second day. 

The pharmacy and bank inside Walmart were open for customers, however.

White said crews continue checking the water infrastructure for problems. The water plant is pumping as much as 1,300 gallons a minute.

“People that do have water have been running 24 hours continuously and that is the problem we can’t catch up,” said White. “The operators cannot bump everything up to what we would like to bump it up or we could blow the whole system.”

Residents in El Reno are still encouraged to drip faucets and refrain from washing clothes or doing dishes if water is restored to their home.

Many other communities across the metro are experiencing water main breaks and outages.

In Tecumseh, a neighborhood power outage at their water plant caused frozen pipes. The outage was not related to a rolling black out.

Across the entire city, water pressure is low.

“We’re pumping about (several hundred gallons) a minute but none of it is going to our tower, frozen pipes,” said Tecumseh City Manager, Jimmy Stokes. “We’re trying to thaw them out now.”

El Reno city officials tell residents like Warren and her husband; water may not be restored until Friday.

They thank neighbors for helping them through.

“They’re really good because they’ll say, ‘hey y’all need anything, can we get you anything?’” said Warren.

White tells News 9 he plans to have a discussion with OG&E about Tuesday’s blackout.

At the Canadian County Jail, inmates are being given bottled water.

Sheriff Chris West told News 9 that 30 cases of bottled water were ordered Tuesday and another 60 cases ordered Wednesday.

They’re working with a local vender to get porta potties delivered to the jail.